Mixer Mania #34 – Wondrous Watermelon

Up until recently, I didn’t realize Watermelon Soda was part of the Crush pop line or even existed. Given I love watermelon, this was a very happy discovery and I instantly grabbed a bottle. Much like this watermelon-based soft drink seemed mythical, let’s take a look at some legends meant to explain the existence of watermelons:

Making Papa Proud

Our first origin story comes from Vietnam, where a young prince angered his father, the king, and was banished to a deserted island. There, he found a fruit that he feared was poisonous and only consumed when all other options were gone. The fruit was tasty and extinguished his thirst. The prince then cultivated the fruit, which spread across the island. He also sent some of the fruit drifting into the sea, with his name and the island’s name carved into them. This brought others to the island, in search of the fruit. The king learned of his son’s achievements and invited him home, crowning him the next king.

Cat Watermelon

Slithering Save

Moving on to Armenia, this tale begins with a king’s servants cutting a snake’s horns off, in order to save it. As a thank you, the snake left a seed at the palace. From the seed, grew a new fruit, which was offered to an ailing old man, saving his life. The king tried the fruit next and felt invigorated. Thus, Armenians called watermelon “Not-Die”, once upon a time. I’m conflicted on this legend. On one hand, I don’t think I would ever be inclined to save a snake, but would rather chop its head off. On the other hand, the servants heroic efforts resulted in the creation of watermelon, so can I really fault them?

Passion of the Priest

We’ll wrap things up with a journey to the Philippines, where a Spanish priest was working hard to convert folks to Catholicism. One particular area was resistant to the priest’s teachings about Christ and his sacrifices. The ruler of this region eventually detained the priest and punished him according to his lessons, crucifying him on a cross. The priest succumbed to this treatment and his blood flowed into the ground below. When the ruler later returned to the cross, the priest had disappeared and in his place, a fruit had grown, its innards resembling the blood of the priest. And that’s how people get converted!

Mixer Mania #34: Nice Melons

Nice Melons.JPG

  • 2 oz Rum
  • Top with Watermelon Soda
  • Splash of Peach Juice
  • Dash of Lime/Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

There is also a legend of vampire watermelons (and pumpkins), but I’ll let you look into that yourselves…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
For this recipe, I’ve subbed Watermelon Soda and Peach Juice in place of Watermelon and Peach Pieces, respectively. I also used the last of my Bear Hug Mango Rum to up the melon content and the result was very, very good. It may be a little sweet, but that can be evened out by Club Soda. The Watermelon Soda is nice on its own, reminding me of a 7-11 Slurpee.

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Flavour Revolution – Pomegranate

Seed Stories

Have you ever wondered why most of us go through six months of shitty(ier) weather (and I ain’t talking about scientific mumbo jumbo)? Well, it’s all because of the pomegranate… or its seeds to be exact. At least, that’s how the Greek myth goes. In fact, the pomegranate is viewed in a number of different ways by some of the world’s greatest civilizations. Let’s see how the fruit is depicted around the globe:

Ancient Greece

Let’s start with this sordid tale of unrequited love, kidnapping, and confinement. It all began when Hades, lord of the underworld, fell in love with Persephone (daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest). Hades took Persephone against her will to the underworld to be his wife and kept her there by feeding her six pomegranate seeds. As a result, Persephone had to spend six months every year in the underworld (the winter months), thus giving pomegranates the title “fruit of the dead”.

Hades Greek Mythology

Ancient Egypt

Backtracking, the Ancient Egyptians viewed the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity and ambition and they were required to be readily available to the pharaohs. Pomegranates were drawn on crypt walls, a figure for life after death, with the infamous King Tut being entombed with a pomegranate vase. The pomegranate’s juice was also used to treat various illnesses and infections, such as tapeworm, while the fruit’s flowers were turned into dye for leather products.

Ancient Israel

When Moses sent scouts to the ‘Promised Land,’ they returned with pomegranates to show the area’s fertility. Therefore, it is a common practice on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana to eat the fruit because it is a symbol of prosperity. The pomegranates 613 seeds are said to match the 613 commandments of the Torah. In my typical luck, my last pomegranate only had 612 seeds. I wonder which commandment doesn’t apply to the Sip Advisor?

Western Europe

Here’s where the pomegranate takes on a bit of a morbid identity (I mean, aside from being known as the “fruit of the dead”), as it was often depicted in paintings as breaking open, to symbolize the suffering of Jesus and his later resurrection. Sometime in the distant future, the Sip Advisor’s suffering and resurrection will be portrayed by a bottle of liquor falling to the ground and smashing to pieces… however the liquor will still reach the lips of my many disciples.

Pomegranate Pain

Qur’an

In this ancient text, pomegranates are described as growing in the gardens of paradise and being an example of a positive thing that God creates. Nowadays, you’d have to cite items like the X-Box, Playstation, and Wii to get across to youngsters that God, in fact, creates good things… or at least robots do. And God created those robots, am I right!?

Armenia

Armenians believe that the pomegranate represents fertility, abundance, and marriage. One potentially messy Armenian tradition is to give a bride a pomegranate and let her throw it against the wall. Hopefully nobody gets in the way, or a game of dodge ball may ensue. Anyway, the scattered seeds of the smashed fruit are said to guarantee the bride’s – as well as the groom’s – fertility. Remember, it takes two to tango!

Fertility Drugs

Persia

Love and fertility is the name of the game for Persians. Also, the mythical character of Isfandiyar is said to have become invincible after eating a pomegranate. Clearly, I haven’t been enjoying my pomegranate liqueur enough to absorb such powers. If I consume a fair bit, I feel invincible, but have never disappeared. It would be fun to play ghost every once in a while and scare the bejesus out unsuspecting folk.

China

In China, the pomegranate symbolizes fertility and many children… too bad the Chinese are only allowed, by law, to have one child, thus negating and powerful vibes the pomegranate may send their way. Many homes were even adorned with pictures of ripe pomegranates, their seeds highlighted in the works, which was meant to bless the family with high numbers of offspring.

Flavour Revolution: Burning Duchess

Burning Duchess Cocktail

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Dash of Agave Syrup
  • 1 Sliced Jalapeno
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Jalapeno Slice

To sum up, here’s what we’ve learned about the pomegranate: they have a lot to do with how many children you have, how successful your marriage may be, and how much wealth you may acquire, but at the same time, may lead you to be destined to an eternity in the underworld. I guess that’s why the fruit is so expensive in grocery stores!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Build the drink by combining the Bourbon, Pomegranate Liqueur, and Agave Syrup, stirring to blend ingredients, before adding the sliced Jalapeno and shaking the mix. Pour into a glass and top with Tonic Water, making it ready to serve. I enjoyed this cocktail, which wasn’t a huge surprise, as I like a bite to my drinks. The Tonic Water left a bit of an odd aftertaste, but not enough to diminish from the rest of the recipe.